Yes indeed, a busy week! It started out with taking over stewardship of the island as owner, which gives me flexible control to do things like create a sandbox for us, and assign media URL's to subdivided parcels on the island. It also gives me build control to jump in and explore just what it might take to build out a space, say, for allied health or the medical lab tech program- both in need of distributed education models to help with capacity building requirements. We've got no choice as a state, it seems there's a dire shortage of healthcare professionals in our future, and not enough space to train everyone necessary in existing programs around the state.
So, I spent a bit of time this weekend looking at what value these spaces can have for health careeducation, and came across a TON of information- the best synopsis I found at http://healthcybermap.semanticweb.org/sl.htm - which is a wealth of links to articles, movies, locations in Second Life, all aimed to educate about healthcare topics. In all this searching through the sites of others, in the spirit of sketching ideas out in 3-d to save them, I popped up a few floors in the tower on our island, and created with about six hours and twelve dollars of purchased prims, a space for an example clinical practice simulation, and an example medical lab tech simulation space as well. No, they aren't fancy or interactive yet, but I hope they serve to show that building in Second Life isn't the difficult part of creating immersive simulations to teach- the greater challenge will be in writing the narratives that engage and challenge students enough to want to embody a necessary role to become part of the story, rather than just watching it - keeping them engaged long enough to learn through what one of my heroes 'Squi-dawg' ;) calls "seductive failure".
Another valuable tidbit was found with the Apple Ed community at http://edcommunity.apple.com/ali/print.php?itemID=11243 -
According to Brown, Collins, and Duguid (1989) there are six critical components for creating a situated learning environment- apprenticeship; collaboration; reflection; coaching; multiple practice; articulation of learning skills. All of these components are present in VICSR with a learning environment that is contextually rich and highly realistic using high quality audio, graphic images and content based on real life situations."
Important components to design toward as we go forward to imagine what kind of scripted experience within a virtual clinic in Second Life can impart the core competencies we need our future health care workforce to critically understand.
Personally? I hope to channel some 'Dan-tastic!™ inspiration' along the way, and maybe even gain some Sterling advice, as I plan to mine the wealth of creative genius that is in my pack of g8m4 friends heads for ideas on compelling narrative in a virtual space. After all, they've been playing simulation games of one form or another since childhood, and now all engage in MMO's.
...AND I need to invite the nurses and lab techs to an afternoon at Ground Kontrol.